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Environmentalists honored for their work

Enviro Updates
Four local awardees were honored at the annual Environmental Awards Dinner on March 16.
The Environmentalist of the Year is Stephen Fuller-Rowell. Stephen is a co-founder of the Sonoma County Water Coalition, a key alliance of water activists throughout the county, and an active member of the Southeast Greenway Campaign.
The award for Environmental Education Program went to STRAW, Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed. STRAW trains teachers how to teach watershed restoration and has organized around 35,000 students to restore over 450 sites in the North Bay and 30 miles of habitat. Its founder and director is Laurette Rogers.
Anne Teller and her late husband Otto, have farmed organically and sustainably at Oak Hill Farm near Glen Ellen since 1955. Anne and her family, who have carried on the tradition of environmental commitment, received the Ernestine I Smith award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement.
Wendy Krupnick received a special award as ‘Queen Bee’ of the environmental community. Wendy is a hard-working member of countless groups, she constantly connects and motivates volunteers and nonprofits. She has a special interest in sustainable agriculture and habitat conservation and co-writes a gardening blog for iGROW.
Una Glass delivered a tribute to John Kramer, a valued and long-time member of the environmental community, who died in February.
The Awards Dinner is put on jointly by the Sonoma County Conservation Council and the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club.

Posted on Categories Forests, Land UseTags , , , , Leave a comment on Ruling deals setback to Artesa's disputed vineyard plan

Ruling deals setback to Artesa's disputed vineyard plan


Environmentalists are hailing a court ruling this week that deals a significant setback to a hotly disputed vineyard project in northwestern Sonoma County.

If it stands, the decision could serve as a bulwark against the push of vineyards into a mostly untilled swath of the region’s coast range, blocking grape growers searching for cooler ground for their crops in the advance of climate change.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought last year by three groups challenging state approval of plans by Artesa Vineyards and Winery of Napa, owned by the Spanish wine giant Grupo Codorniu.

It wants to clear 154 acres of second- and third-growth redwood and fir trees and former orchard land near Annapolis to grow premium chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.

via Ruling deals setback to Artesa’s disputed vineyard plan | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Forests, Land UseTags , , , ,

Court rejects plan to clearcut California redwoods for vineyard

Press Release: Friends of the Gualala River, Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, Center for Biological Diversity

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum has rejected a plan to clearcut 154 acres of Northern California redwoods to plant vineyards for a winery. The proposal in northwestern Sonoma County was challenged by the Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Gualala River. In response, Judge Daum said the state’s “environmental impact report” for Artesa Winery’s forest-to-vineyard project violates the California Environmental Quality Act.

“The highest and best use of coastal forests is to remain in their natural condition so they can protect our coastal rivers, support fish and wildlife, and combat climate change by sequestering carbon,” said Victoria Brandon, chair of the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter.

The judge found that, in preparing the environmental review for the project, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) failed to properly analyze alternatives that would be less damaging to the environment, such as using an unforested area for the vineyard.The court also determined that the agency did not appropriately address the lost carbon sequestration that would result from destroying the redwood forest. Redwood forests are well known for their capacity to absorb massive amounts of greenhouse gases as they mature over time.

Continue reading “Court rejects plan to clearcut California redwoods for vineyard”

Posted on Categories Forests, Land UseTags , , , , , Leave a comment on A fight over vineyards pits redwoods against red wine

A fight over vineyards pits redwoods against red wine

Alastair Bland, NPR, THE SALT
In the California wine mecca of Sonoma County, climate change is pitting redwood lovers against red wine lovers.This Friday morning, a coalition of environmental groups are in a Santa Rosa, Calif., courtroom fighting to stop a Spanish-owned winery from leveling 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make way for grapevines.
Redwoods only grow in the relatively cool coastal region of Northern California and southern Oregon. Parts of this range, such as northwestern Sonoma County, have become increasingly coveted by winemakers.
protest_largeChris Poehlmann, president of a small organization called Friends of the Gualala River, says the wine industry is creeping toward the coast as Californias interior valleys heat up and consumers show preferences for cooler-weather grapes like pinot noir.”Inexorably, the wine industry is looking for new places to plant vineyards,” says Poehlmann, whose group is among the plaintiffs.
via A Fight Over Vineyards Pits Redwoods Against Red Wine : The Salt : NPR.

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Environmentalists recognized at Environmental Awards Dinner 2013

The Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club Sonoma Group and more than 160 activists gathered Sunday night at the Santa Rosa’s Veteran’s Auditorium to honor 5 deserving individuals.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey received the Ernestine I. Smith Lifetime Environmental Commitment Award. Tom Roth, Chief of Staff for Senator Noreen Evans and formerly Senior Policy Advisor for Woolsey, eloquently accepted on her behalf. Denny Rosatti, Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, received The Environmentalist Of The Year Award for his amazing leadership in the last year. Ken Wells of Sonoma County Trails Council and the Sierra Club Sonoma Group received the GrassRoots Trailblazer Award for his work over the years on behalf of our trails and forests as well as reducing the amount of discards our County sends to the landfill. SRJC Student Matt Lopez received the Environmental Youth award for his stellar progress from a novice volunteer into an enthusiastic and inspiring summer counselor with Landpaths Owl Camp Summer Camp.
In a special presentation, the late Jay Halcomb received a Special Recognition Award for his passionate commitment and outstanding leadership on behalf of our magnificent North Coast forests. As Chair of the Sierra Club’s Forest Protection Committee, Jay led its efforts to preserve forests from unsustainable logging and from forest to vineyard conversion. Most recently, his astute advocacy was instrumental in the Chapter’s negotiation of a successful settlement with the Bohemian Club that preserved the remaining stand of Bohemian Grove old growth redwoods from logging. He also served the Club with great distinction as Redwood Chapter Chair from 2008 until his death.
These awards are presented each March. Nomination requests are sent out starting in early January. The SCCC is particularly interested in nominations of folks not in the mainstream. Perhaps you will make a nomination next year. Details and award history can be found at For more about Jay Halcomb visit the Sierra Club Sonoma Group website at

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags , Leave a comment on 36th Annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

36th Annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

Saturday, Mar. 3, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Sebastopol Veteran’s Auditorium • 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol
Paloma Pavel, President of Earth House Center and Exec. Dir. of Breakthrough Communities, will speak on Building Healthy, Just & Sustainable Communities in the Face of Climate Change. There will be a silent auction and raffle and a gourmet dinner.
Tickets are $40, $50 after 2/20 at
Benefits the Sierra Club and Environmental Center of Sonoma County
A zero-waste and low impact event Please carpool!